SAGA with Arbitrary Sampling


Xun Qian, Zheng Qu, Peter Richtárik ;
Proceedings of the 36th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 97:5190-5199, 2019.


We study the problem of minimizing the average of a very large number of smooth functions, which is of key importance in training supervised learning models. One of the most celebrated methods in this context is the SAGA algorithm of Defazio et al. (2014). Despite years of research on the topic, a general-purpose version of SAGA—one that would include arbitrary importance sampling and minibatching schemes—does not exist. We remedy this situation and propose a general and flexible variant of SAGA following the arbitrary sampling paradigm. We perform an iteration complexity analysis of the method, largely possible due to the construction of new stochastic Lyapunov functions. We establish linear convergence rates in the smooth and strongly convex regime, and under certain error bound conditions also in a regime without strong convexity. Our rates match those of the primal-dual method Quartz (Qu et al., 2015) for which an arbitrary sampling analysis is available, which makes a significant step towards closing the gap in our understanding of complexity of primal and dual methods for finite sum problems. Finally, we show through experiments that specific variants of our general SAGA method can perform better in practice than other competing methods.

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